New Tate Modern to be more digital and get visitors “participating”

London’s Tate Modern is set to open a new 10-storey building this June, and will be introducing more interactive elements such as an app for visitors and an interactive timeline.

Visualisation of the new Tate Modern building. © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron
Visualisation of the new Tate Modern building. © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

London’s Tate Modern is looking to become more digital with new touchscreen displays, interactive areas and a way-finding app that aim to help visitors “engage” with art.

The move towards digital is part of an entire £260 million refurbishment plan for Tate Modern, which will see a new 10-storey building open at the site.

Three floors will be dedicated to galleries, and the others for educational purposes, events, restaurants, shops, a cinema for film screenings, and a viewing platform. The building is being created by architect Herzog & de Meuron, with interior design elements including furniture by Jasper Morrison.

Visualisation of the new Tate Modern
Visualisation of the new Tate Modern

The new Tate Modern app aims to help visitors find navigate the museum and “find art they want to see”, says Nicholas Serota, director at Tate. It will also provide information on art, artists and movements featured within the galleries. The museum is not yet able to confirm who is designing the app.

Content from Tate’s digital archive, such as interviews with the museum’s artists and curators, will also be available through the app.

Interactive spaces will also be placed within the new building to enable visitors to “explore the context of collections”, says Serota.

The “Explore” spaces will include digital displays that allow visitors to find out more about the Tate’s collections, and overarching themes of the displays.

A 6.5m long interactive timeline will also be installed, which will present an “ever-changing” display of more than 3,500 artworks by 750 artists, with information on art movements and imagery.

The new digital installations are part of Bloomberg Connects, Tate Modern’s partnership with digital arts programme Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The partnership has already seen the creation of several digital elements put in place by Jason Bruges Studio in 2012. These include Make Your Mark, a digital conversation wall composed of screens, a Drawing Bar allowing people to create artwork on digital sketchpads that is then projected onto walls, and the introduction of hand-held digital tours, and weekly film screenings.

The physical and digital transformation of the museum aims to encourage “collaboration, participation and conversation” between visitors and curators, says Frances Morris, another director at the Tate.

New visuals, by Peter Saville
New visual, by Peter Saville

Accompanying the digital updates are a series of visuals, designed by Peter Saville, which will be used alongside the Tate Modern’s branding in digital and print applications.

North Design has also created a series of posters and “typographic material” for the opening.

Both designers’ work aims to bring the Tate “together as a whole”, and show the “evolution of the brand” says Serota.

However, while new visuals and posters have been created, Serota confirms there will be “no major rebrand of the Tate Modern” upon the opening of the new building as “there is no need for one”.

The new Tate Modern is set to open on 17 June. It is expecting to see roughly 5.5 million visitors yearly, half a million more than it currently gets. “We want to offer a better experience for those who do come, rather than seek more visitors,” says Serota.

Some of the exhibits on display at the new Tate Modern:

Tree, by Ai Weiwei, 2015
Tree, by Ai Weiwei, 2015
Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp, 1917, replica 1964
Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp, 1917, replica 1964
Untitled, by Malangatana Ngwenya, 1967
Untitled, by Malangatana Ngwenya, 1967

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